Viva! Communications

By Kaitlin Bowen and Mark Henderson

Recently, partners from around the world gathered to learn, share and connect during the 2017 GLOBALHealthPR® (GHPR) Annual General Meeting, held in Mexico City. One of the unique aspects we discussed in Mexico is the annual GHPR employee exchange program. We recently interviewed the participants of this year’s program to reflect on the highlights:

 As a part of the GLOBALHealthPR (GHPR) exchange program, Mark Henderson from VIVA! Communications in Australia and Kaitlin Bowen from Spectrum in the United States flew halfway around the world to “swap desks” and experience healthcare communications in each other’s home countries.

The exchange program, designed to enhance the connectivity of GHPR agencies, helps foster collaboration among the independent health and science communications network and enables agency employees the opportunity to gain insight into the drivers that affect health and science communications in other markets.

Kaitlin and Mark reflected recently on the major differences between the two countries and what they gained from their GLOBALHealthPR exchange experience.

What is the major difference you saw between the health industries in Australia and the United States?

Mark Henderson – VIVA! Communications, Australia: While in the States, I learned about medicines when I wasn’t even expecting to, as direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertisements often appeared on television and in magazines – this came as quite a surprise to me. I was enthralled by the advertising, but further to this, the amount of political discussion and conversation in the community around healthcare and medicines. That was intriguing, and I think it’s a good thing.

Living in Australia, we tend to become complacent about our access to free medicines and hospital care (well, free for the most part), and that shrinks the public conversation on healthcare in Australia somewhat. That is, unless one is championing a certain medicinal cause, working in the health industry or battling with a disease that requires difficult to access therapies.

On a slightly different note, I was shocked to see promotion of cigarettes in the U.S. I picked up a magazine at the airport, and was confronted with a discount offer for a new brand of cigarettes. Not just an advertisement, but a discount offer for cigarettes – how can this be allowed?

In Australia, we have so many regulations regarding cigarette advertising in attempts to decrease cancer rates –our laws include plain packaging, locked cabinets and no advertisements for cigarettes. So to see cigarettes advertised in the U.S. was confronting.

Kaitlin Bowen – Spectrum, United States: Due to the restrictions around direct-to-consumer advertising in Australia via the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct, healthcare companies and the PR and marketing agencies that support them must be creative to connect with stakeholders in meaningful ways. Empowering advocacy partners and patients is critical.

Due to this tightly regulated health communications environment, VIVA!’s work tends to be highly patient-centric, which is great. Most campaigns include regional or state-specific patient spokespeople who can provide first-hand commentary on what it’s like to live with a certain disease or condition. This, combined with dynamic content and a the knack for media relations creates  comprehensive patient case studies, videos and infographics (both still and animated) that are really easy for the media to reference and extract for use in their stories.

How does the working culture differ between VIVA! & Spectrum?

KB, USA:  Overall, the team is very collaborative and it’s often all hands on deck to do great work for our clients. Even the agency’s Principal is not afraid to jump in and help, lending her expertise and experience to all aspects of client service, including making pitch calls and proofing content.

Additionally, I found Australians to be quite direct with each other – no sugar coating feedback or direction – which helps keep projects moving along efficiently. I think it also helps boost camaraderie within the agency, which can go a long way for maintaining morale among employees and ultimately helps drive a better quality product for clients.

The VIVA! office had a similar vibe to our Spectrum offices with lots of open, collaborative space and cool, scientific imagery around the office.

I view my Spectrum team as family, so I think the VIVA! gang is pretty much our cousins Down Under – the people, culture and energy in the office space were surprisingly similar to our Spectrum team here in the U.S. That’s the great part about the GLOBALHealthPR network – the agencies are so like-minded not only in our office environments, but also in our values and what motivates us to do great work for our clients.   I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to live, work and play in Sydney for a few weeks and form long-lasting friendships with our GLOBALHealthPR partners in Australia.

 MH, AUS: Overall, both Spectrum and VIVA! work in the highly specialised healthcare PR arena, part of which allows us to craft and share the fascinating stories that create buzz and hype around healthcare therapies, medicines, medical research and science.

I was really privileged to meet so many American healthcare PR peers, and was impressed by the different stories and reasons for pursuing healthcare communications. Some of the Spectrum staff have Ph.D.’s and are trained scientists. The knowledge and experience that these experts can lend to the science of health is invaluable, and they are lovely people too!

How will you continue to build relationships across the GLOBALHealthPR network now that you’re back home?

 MH, AUS: I think the amazing thing about the exchange program is that we are visiting and partnering with not just friends, but colleagues. I’m thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to continue to grow and build relationships with all of my healthcare PR peers. It’s something truly unique to GLOBALHealthPR.

I am eager to remain in touch, and to continue working alongside and collaborating with my American counterparts, and friends in the U.S.

KB, USA: In the words of Uncle Ben from Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Because I’ve been given the amazing privilege to participate in the GHPR exchange program, I believe it’s important as partners that we continue to support and build the GLOBALHealthPR network on behalf of each of our agencies.

The beauty of GHPR is that each of us are experts in our local healthcare marketplaces, but we have that global reach and connectivity across the world through each partner agency. What’s really special is that we’re not just professional acquaintances, but friends. I remain connected to my VIVA! colleagues on Facebook and always look forward to hearing the latest client updates and the GHPR Annual General Meeting. In the spirit of the GHPR exchange program, I will continue to work to foster collaboration and best practice sharing across the network.

Kaitlin Bowen is an Account Director at GHPR U.S. partner Spectrum. Mark Henderson is the Queensland Branch Manager at GHPR Australian partner VIVA! Communications. To check out Kaitlin’s and Mark’s experiences from the GLOBALHealthPR Professional Exchange Program and other GHPR programming, use #GHPRConnects to connect and join the conversation.


Watch this space for updates on our one-of-a-kind program from now through November.

Day 1 of Mark Henderson’s GLOBALHealthPR Exchange at Spectrum, Washington, D.C.

Mark Henderson (centre) joins GHPR team members Andrew Bailey (L) and Drew Wallace (R) at the Spectrum DC office.

Since arriving in Washington, DC as part of the GLOBALHealthPR Professional Exchange Program, I’ve been privileged to witness a lot of American history, from Capitol Hill (the seat of the United States Congress and legislative branch of the US Federal Government), to The White House (the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the US, also dubbed “The Nation’s Most Famous Address”).

Warmly welcomed by Andrew Bailey, and the Spectrum team at its Washington DC offices today (Monday, September 19, 2016), I’ve been given a tour of the office and met many staff. I’ve also been privy to an orientation from Spectrum’s HR lead, Julian, who documented the company’s 20 year-long history, founded on the idea of “transforming complicated science into compelling stories,” to its dramatic growth in the past four years, which has seen the company double in size to upwards of 60 staff members across three offices (DC, New York and Atlanta), and those who work remotely.

Further to this introduction, I’ve been privileged to participate in several brainstorm sessions, and teleconferences that have offered me an opportunity to begin to understand the way in which business gets done at Spectrum. I’ve been truly impressed by all that I’ve learned since arriving here.

New koalas took up residence in Washington thanks to Mark’s arrival from VIVA in Australia.

I was privileged to speak with Tim Goddard, Senior Vice President of GlOBALHealthPR, who provided me a warm welcome to the company, and outlined many of the different opportunities I will experience in the United States during my two week tenure here. Notably, I will be meeting with each of the four Functional Group Leads for Spectrum, including those representing the BioPharma, BioTech, Consumer Science and Public Affairs divisions, along with a host of other senior staff, such as the business managers who work within each of these groups.
It’s only day one, but I already feel like I’ve learned so much about Spectrum, its rich and vibrant history, and plans for the future, and I very much look forward to what the coming weeks have in store, both Washington DC, and in New York City.

Mark is participating in the GLOBALHealthPR Professional Exchange Program representing exclusive Australian partner, VIVA! Communications. The Program aims to enhance the connectivity of GLOBALHealthPR agencies through collaboration, best practice sharing, and insights into the drivers that affect health and science communications in different markets worldwide, and to build professional relationships with other GLOBALHealthPR personnel around the globe.

About Mark: Mark Henderson is Queensland Branch Manager at GHPR Australia partner, VIVA! Communications. To follow his experiences on the GLOBALHealthPR Professional Exchange Program online, use #GHPRConnects to join the conversation and follow all of the 2016 exchange programming.


At GLOBALHealthPR, we are proud to announce our official support for World Hepatitis Day, July 28, 2016, joining a plethora of organisations fighting to ELIMINATE chronic Hepatitis C. World Hepatitis Day unites people from all walks of life to raise awareness of the substantial global burden of viral hepatitis and to provoke real change in disease prevention, testing and treatment options. The theme for this year’s World Hepatitis Day is ELIMINATION.

Watch the campaign video here.

Get the Infographic

What is Hepatitis C?

Chronic Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major global health issue affecting approximately 170 million people worldwide. If left untreated, HCV can progress to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer and liver failure.

HCV is a silent disease – an alarming 95% of people living with viral hepatitis are unaware they have the disease. In May 2016, World Health Organization (WHO) member States that attended the World Health Assembly, Geneva, Switzerland, committed to ELIMINATING viral hepatitis by 2030. The WHO Global Health Sector Strategy (2016-2021) on viral hepatitis aims to reduce the annual death rate from chronic hepatitis from 1.4 million to less than 0.5 million by 2030.

World Hepatitis Day (July 28, 2016) provides an important reminder for families and communities to talk about viral hepatitis and ensure we turn the tide on Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

According to Raquel Peck, CEO of the World Hepatitis Alliance, London, UK, “We are at a turning point for viral hepatitis. We have the tools; we have the commitment; what we need now is action. “We are asking all stakeholders to join us in celebrating the launch of NOhep on World Hepatitis Day, to help eliminate viral hepatitis – an illness that affects 400 million people worldwide.”


Nohep is a global World Hepatitis Alliance movement that aims to unite the hepatitis community and broader public to take action and call upon governments to ensure global commitments are met by 2030.

WHY Nohep?

  1. Nohepis RIGHT

4,000 deaths per day is 4,000 too many. Join Nohep… for greater access to life-saving medicines and vaccines

  1. Nohepis SMART

Eliminating hepatitis C will pay for itself by 2030. Join Nohep… to ensure governments make smart investments

  1. Nohep is FOR ALL

Viral hepatitis stigma stops people working, learning and having relationships. Join Nohep… to end stigma and stop discrimination


Taking action now will save 7 million lives by 2030. Join Nohep… to make the elimination of viral hepatitis our next greatest achievement.


  1. VACCINATE for Nohep

300,000 cancer deaths a year can be prevented. Join Nohep… for universal vaccination coverage.

  1. TEST for Nohep…

95 per cent of people living with viral hepatitis don’t know they are living with the disease. Join Nohep… for increased testing among those at-risk.

  1. TREAT for Nohep…

4,000 people die each day, yet life-saving medicines exist. Join Nohep… for greater access to life-saving treatments.

How can you support World Hepatitis Day?

Great strides have already been made, but so much more can be done to ensure 2016 is the beginning of the end of viral hepatitis. 

To pledge your support to ELIMINATE viral hepatitis:

  1. Sign up to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030 at
  2. Share photos from your events to show the world how you are contributing to the ELIMINATION of viral hepatitis. Upload your photos to or tweet your pictures using #World HepDay.
  3. Sign up to the Nohep Thunderclap before 9:00 am ET at to share the following message on your elected social media channels.

VIVA awards

We are excited to share that our Australian partner, VIVA! Communications, was awarded first place in the Health Organisations category at the prestigious PRIA Golden Target awards last Wednesday, 7 October, in Sydney.  VIVA! was responsible for three of the 11 shortlisted finalists for the Health Organisations award and their winning campaign, “Plea for Life” saw them partner with the aHUS patient support group to help secure Federal funding for lifesaving treatments for aHUS, a fatal, ultra-rare blood disorder. We look forward to their continued excellence and are proud to call VIVA! Communications a partner at GLOBALHealthPR.

Head to VIVA’s blog for full coverage for full coverage of their success at the Golden Target Awards!

male anorexia nervosa

Today’s post comes to us from our GLOBALHealthPR Australia partner VIVA! Communications.

With diagnoses on the rise, today we shed light on a condition society most frequently deems to be of concern to women and girls – anorexia nervosa. As you may know, anorexia nervosa is characterized as an eating disorder that affects its victims through obsessive fears of weight gain and obesity.

What you might not know is that despite being deemed a “woman’s disease” since the 1970’s, anorexia nervosa affects 1 in 10 males and recent studies even suggest an equal number of males and females suffer from the condition.

More surprisingly, anorexia in males seems to be increasing at a much faster rate than in females, though the treatment for the illness continues to be largely female- oriented. The Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI) has been working diligently to reduce the gender stigmatization associated with the disease, mostly by conducting studies to specifically pinpoint the genetic differences in those with anorexia nervosa, thus finding ways to treat men and women more effectively.

[Read more…] about Male Anorexia Nervosa – M.A.N.

Our GLOBALHealthPR Australia partner, VIVA! Communications, took a look at some of the emerging pop health activities, diets and trends that made their marks across the globe. Were they just passing fads or will they have staying power well into 2015 and beyond?

2012 Tough Mudder Extreme Endurance Challenge

As 2014 draws to a close, there’s no better time to reflect on various ‘health fads’ from the year that was. [Read more…] about Health Fads From The Year That Was